A Missouri Congressman is busy working on the new farm bill, with a lot to do this summer.

Northwest Missouri Congressman Sam Graves, a Republican, says the House Agriculture Committee has just begun work on the new 2007 Farm Bill. Sub-committees are doing the work right now. The bill could come before the full committee by Independence Day.

Much of Graves’ work has been on environmental policies; conservation, grasslands, wetlands. Graves is pushing for a provision that would allow farmers to form environmental groups and make it easier for set-aside land to be used in times of drought. Graves also sponsors an amendment to create the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which would promote agriculture research.

Graves says the Agriculture Committee has fewer partisan divisions than many other committees, which will allow it to fend off any attempts by other House members to promote a separate bill. He says that also gives it the freedom to explain the importance of agricultural policy to non-farm members of Congress. Graves says the farm fill does more than set agriculture policy. It maintains an affordable food supply.

Farm bills are approved by Congress every five years. The current bill was approved in 2002. 

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